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Kant, a Cosmopolitan in Königsberg: an Idea for a Local History with a Cosmopolitan Aim

Project description

A historic perspective of Kant’s cosmopolitan law

Germany’s most famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant, remains influential to this day. His theory of cosmopolitan law is one of the most influential normative frameworks for analysing and evaluating the state of our globalised society. The EU-funded GEOCOSM project will review Kant’s lectures on physical geography and pragmatic anthropology to understand his theory of cosmopolitan law. To understand Kant’s cosmopolitan right, the project will situate his lectures within the academic culture of his University in Königsberg. A first, this comprehensive historical study of Kant’s lectures on geography will reveal how it impacted his political philosophy.

Objective

Kant, a Cosmopolitan in Königsberg: Idea for a local history with a Cosmopolitan Aim Abstract: This project provides a historical contextualist analysis of the relationship between Immanuel Kant’s theory of cosmopolitan law and his lectures on Physical Geography. The reformulation of Kant’s theory of cosmopolitan law into our present context has perhaps proved to be one of the most influential normative frameworks for analysing and evaluating the state of our globalized society. However, recent critics have suggested that the global order, proposed by Kant, does not simply rest on universal values but is rather historically rooted in a European centre with an imperialistic agenda. This criticism largely hinges on a reintroduction of Kant’s lectures on Physical Geography and Pragmatic Anthropology as the proper historical context for understanding Kant’s cosmopolitan right. The question, however, is how to understand this context. The objective of this project is to situate Kant’s lectures within the academic culture of his University in Königsberg. I propose to see the lectures as an active engagement with the inclusion of Königsberg into world society, and hence as a way of problematizing the process of globalization. This means that the lectures should not, as critics have suggested, be interpreted as the basis of Kant’s cosmopolitan law but rather the other way around: his theory of cosmopolitan law should be seen as critical answers given to questions identified and raised in the lectures. Despite the growing interest in these lectures there is still no comprehensive historical study of Kant’s lectures on geography and its role in his political philosophy. The ultimate aim of this project is to deliver such a study.

Coordinator

GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITAT GOTTINGEN STIFTUNG OFFENTLICHEN RECHTS
Net EU contribution
€ 246 669,12
Address
WILHELMSPLATZ 1
37073 Gottingen
Germany

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Region
Niedersachsen Braunschweig Göttingen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 246 669,12

Partners (1)